Three cheers to Metallica for releasing this garage demo version of “Lords Of Summer,” the new song they debuted in Bogota, Colombia on the weekend.
One of the absolute coolest things about my visit to Fender a few years ago was checking out the Fender American Design Experience, a section of the Fender Visitor Center in Corona, California where you could go in and select the parts to build your own personalised guitar or bass. It’s not quite Custom Shop but certainly more personal than a regular production guitar. And now Fender has taken this experience online, allowing you to configure your own Strat, Telecaster, Precision Bass or Jazz Bass from a wide range of options, then have the guitar built and sent out to you all for a pretty dang affordable price. You can make your own design from scratch or use various artist-designed models as your jumping-off point. I used the Configurator to whip up a 65-influenced Strat with Texas Special pickups and a left-handed neck. Oh and I also made a little tribute to the Frank Zappa/Jimi Hendrix Strat in its ‘pre-restored’ configuration. And a tribute to David Gilmour’s #0001 Stratocaster. And a Richie Kotzen-esque Strat. And a couple of SRV-ish ones (one with a rosewood fretboard, one with maple). And a red, humbucker-loaded vintage/modern hybrid something-or-other. And a sunburst-and-gold Telecaster. And on and on. Here they are, followed by the press release.
One of the coolest product lines of 2014 has gotta be the Schecter Blackjack Collection, which is shipping now. Schecter has taken almost a custom shop approach to these instruments: on the surface they appear to be pretty stripped-back, but when you look closer all of the guitars have Crimson Red binding and inlays, combined with Glow-In-Dark Side markers and passive Seymour Duncan pickups. The Avenger and C models each have five variations 6-string with HipShot USA fixed bridge, Floyd Rose or Floyd Rose with Sustainiac, plus fixed-bridge 7 and 8-string models. And there’s also a 6-string Tempest, a very cool Schecter design that I’m glad to see back in the line. If you’d like to order one from Amazon.com, here are some links (and each is also available left-handed):